Broadcast 1444 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

14 Oct 2010 Dr. Leik Myrabo
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Guest: Dr. Leik Myrabo. Topics: Beamed energy propulsion. We welcomed back to the program Dr. Leik Myrabo for updates and new information regarding his work in the area of beamed energy propulsion with his company, Lightcraft Technologies, Inc. ( Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, In our first segment, Leik brought us current on his activities since he was last on The Space Show on August 28, 2009. He told us about the Umea Institute of Design project in Sweden involving 33 students and 11 teams in a design project to look at replacing jet fuel driven aircraft with beamed energy craft in the future. We talked about an upcoming BBC-Nova series, The World of Invention, and he told us about the high power laser experiments at the Laboratory of Aerothermodynamics and Hypersonics, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. In this discussion, Dr. Myrabo was specific about the lasers, their power, and energy usage. He received questions about the Brazilian lab, and demos using beamed energy for commercial markets for micro to nano-satellites. Later in this segment, we talked about beamed energy work in China, its relationship to space solar power work, and even the potential of being useful for space debris mitigation. As we started the second segment, Anthony in the UK asked about safety issues and Leik share with us the safety protocols when working with the lasers. Our guest was asked if beamed propulsion was an attraction for students to study and we asked how his academic peers regarded this cutting edge work. Dr. Myrabo had much to say about both of these topics so don't miss this discussion. Later in this segment, we asked him to define the millimeter-wave laser as several listeners were emailing me for an explanation of it. After Leik explained the millimeter-wave laser, he was asked about applications for beamed energy for the space elevator project. Here he had much to say so don't miss this part of our discussion. I also asked our guest how weather sensitive the lasers were and we learned that atmospheric conditions were very important. Its even why placing a laser on the top of a mountain makes sense. Near the end of this segment, the subject of the laser or any form of beamed energy as a space weapon came up. Leik told us about the Laser Clearing House in the U.S. and also said that as this field develops, there would have to be an international regulatory regime for laser usage but that we were a long way from that point right now. He explained why such a regulator regime would be necessary so again, don't miss what he had to say on this very important subject. In our third and final segment, we fielded a question from the UK asking about UK and ESA laser research. Leik then told us about the upcoming international symposium in April 2011 in Germany. He was asked about adapting military lasers to commercial beamed energy propulsion and about competing and alternative forms of beamed energy that are in the mix. We also talked about beamed energy beyond LEO as the show was drawing to a close. If you have questions or comments for Dr. Leik Myrabo, please post them on the blog URL and you can send them to me at to be forwarded to Dr. Myrabo.



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